With each passing week, it’s getting harder and harder to predict who will be going home on American Idol. With the Aces, Buckys, and Kevins of the world eliminated, we now have to turn our attention towards the good singers. Time to chip away at the talent. Suddenly, Taylor and Katharine and Chris (well, not Chris) are more vulnerable than ever, but don’t worry. As of 9 PM EST, Kellie Pickler was still hanging around. Would America finally excise this last member of the JV squad? Or would we be in for an upset? A McUpset?The show begins with Ryan nearly stumbling down some steps as he happily waves to the audience and welcomes America back to the cheesiest talent show on Earth. He seems extra bubbly tonight, which may explain why he’s unfazed by his little misstep. It may also explain why his tie is crooked too (then again, knowing Seacrest’s penchant for over-anticipating fashion trends, he probably thinks it’s cool to have the knot off center). Anyway, our beanpole host tells us that the show registered over 47 million votes last night, more than any other non-finale episode ever. To put that in perspective, Big Brother only culled about five million votes last summer, and that was their record (and yes, that included internet voting too).
Once we’re done marveling on all the votes (about .36 seconds later), we take a glimpse at our idols. Everyone looks pretty good. Katharine has slipped out of her banana peel dress and into the more casual blouse and jeans ensemble. Elliot also has traded out his designer duds for a dorky shirt that makes his arms look skinny strange. And Taylor, I don’t know what’s up with him. His hair looks whiter than ever. It’s like someone sifted flour on it about ten seconds prior.
Ryan then asks the judges about the previous night’s show, and in a rare move, Simon takes back his harsh criticism of Katharine. He says that upon further review, he was way too hard on her. She sounded different and better on tape, and it was unfair the way he came down on her. Randy also chimes in that he agrees. Aw, that’s nice guys, and I’m sure Katharine will really appreciate that if she gets voted off tonight. Thanks!
By the way, Paula doesn’t retract any statements. Why? “I’ve never been harsh!” she says from under a pile of dark beads she has draped around her neck. She kind of looks like a fortune teller. A fortune teller on Vicodin. Simon then interrupts Paula’s babble to create the awkward moment of the night. Yes, he asks if Paula and Ryan ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER! Ryan gulps and nervously says yeah, yeah, yeah. He then tries to recover by smiling and tossing to the recap of last night. Good save!
We watch as the kids meet Andrea Bocelli all over again, and in the background, one of his songs plays, making the entire montage seem like an olive oil commercial. Eventually, I simply fast forward through the recap until the judges return to the screen. Ryan stands behind them and says they’re just one big dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional is an understatement when you’ve got Looney Tunes Abdul sitting at the table. Nevertheless, Paula happily reads Ryan’s cue card, clearly stating, “The results after the break!” It’s the first phrase in over three years that she hasn’t slurred and stuttered through. Bravo! I like to think this moment of lucidity is just the eye in her hurricane of craziness.
“Pretty pretty hands!”
After the break, it’s time for our favorite segment: the cheese-o-rama Ford music video. This week’s song? “Call Me” by Blondie. The video follows the idols as they search for a missing dog throughout a city (or the Paramount studios New York set, to be specific). Eventually, they find their mutt, and guess what? The little guy has led them right to a Ford Fusion. Oh, and apparently this dog has gotten busy with a bitch — there’s a box of puppies next to the car. Aw, so cute. Still, there’s something oddly disturbing yet appropriate about how American Idol takes a song about prostitution and makes it about puppies. Can’t wait for their artistic interpretation of “Private Dancer.” It’ll center around kittens and merry-go-rounds.
When the video ends, Ryan introduces tonight’s very special guests: David Foster and Andrea Bocelli. Yay? Seacrest asks a few perfunctory questions, and I can’t help noticing how Bocelli answers everything as if he has some Italian-sounding computer box speaking for him. If Stephen Hawking and Super Mario Brothers had a lovechild….
Finally, the two guests perform for the crowd. Foster is on piano, Bocelli on vocals. It’s terrible. That’s not to say that the two men aren’t talented. They’re both excellent in their crafts. The song, however, is shit. When I hear it, I feel like I’m in some mattress store in Hackensack, NJ. The sort of place where everything has a gold trim and women named Angela and Bernice roam around in pleather pants.
Anyway, this schlocky, Vegas-worthy song comes to an end, and when we return from the commercial break, it’s finally time for the results. Oops — not before checking in with former Idol / present eyebrow enthusiast Lisa Tucker. She sits in the audience and banters with Ryan for about three seconds. In case you didn’t know, she’ll be on The OC this Thursday. Yeah, I don’t care either.
Ryan then announces he’ll be splitting the six singers into three groups of two. First up, Katharine. She’s banished to the far side of the stage. Next is Elliot, who is assigned the middle. And Pickler? She gets the near side. Just a hunch: y’all probably want to stay away from her group tonight.
Paris is up next, and ouch, she’s stuck in Kellie’s group. That can’t be a good thing. But hey, maybe Kellie now has someone to “play pottery” with. Taylor is sent to Elliot’s section, and Chris joins Katharine on the far side of the stage, thus making the most photogenic couple of the night. They have to be safe. If those two are in the bottom, there will be hell to pay. As Chris saunters over to The McFar side of the stage, the audience cheers extra loud. I can’t tell if it’s because everyone really likes Chris or if everyone’s just relieved that Katharine most likely will be safe now. Anyway, Ryan dismisses Elliot and Taylor, which means of the remaining two groups, one has the highest number of votes, and one has the lowest. Unless there was some strange glitch in the voting system, there’s no way that the über-annoying duo of Pickler and Paris could have the highest number of votes. Sure enough, Chris and Katharine are told to take a McSeat, thus leaving the other two girls to duke it out for last place. Paris looks tremendously nervous, despite her smile, and Kellie, well, she seems resigned to her fate. Enjoy these moments while you can, Pickler. You’ve only got about three minutes left in the spotlight.
Well, Ryan doesn’t even try to prolong the moment. He tells Kellie that it’s all over, which is expected. We then see Paris’s boisterous family breathe a sigh of relief. You know they’ll be a mess when she finally goes. Anyway, Ryan directs Kellie to look at the big screen, and thus begins this week’s Daniel Powter montage. To change things up, the producers use a flaccid, acoustic arrangement of “Bad Day,” which manages to take an annoying song and make it even worse.
Afterwards, Kellie thanks everyone under the sun, and at one point says, “I know i won’t be here much longer because a commercial’s coming.” Or worse: the cruel truncation of my Tivo. Yes, my DVR cuts Kellie off mid-ramble, and I decide that’s a good thing. Sorry to see you go, Pickler. You seem like a sweet, friendly girl. Dumb, but sweet. You were a bit out of your league, but darnit if I wasn’t won over by your idiotic charm. Good luck, and may the future present you with all sorts of fascinating new vocab words — ones with three syllables, too!
What did you think? Happy with the results? Did everything go as expected?